TEL AVIV, Israel (AFP) – Israel’s far-right national security minister slammed supermodel Bella Hadid on Friday for criticizing his recent inflammatory televised remarks about Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.
In an interview earlier this week with Israel’s Channel 12 in the wake of two deadly Palestinian attacks against Israelis in the Occupied Territories, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir said his right to freedom of movement as a Jewish settler trumps the same right of Palestinians.
“My right, the right of my wife and children to move in Judea and Samaria, is more important than freedom of movement for the Arabs,” Ben Gvir said on television on Wednesday, using the biblical name for the West Bank. “The right to life comes before freedom of movement.”
Addressing Muhammad Majdali, a well-known Arab-Israeli TV presenter who was in the studio, Ben Gvir added, “Sorry, Muhammad. But this is the reality.”
His statement drew widespread criticism, with commentators using it as evidence for claims that Israel is turning into an apartheid regime that seeks to preserve Jewish hegemony from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean. “Sorry Muhammad” became a social media meme as critics posted it alongside videos of Israeli violence against Palestinians.
Hadid, the world-famous model and social media influencer, whose father is Palestinian, shared an excerpt from Ben Juffair’s interview with her 59.5 million Instagram followers on Thursday, writing: “Anywhere, anytime, especially in 2023, I must May one life be more valuable than another. Especially because of their race, culture, or pure hatred.”
It also published a video from the leading Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem showing Israeli soldiers in the southern West Bank city of Hebron telling a resident that Palestinians are not allowed to walk on a certain street because it is reserved for Jews. “Does this remind anyone of anything?” I wrote.
Bin Juffair responded angrily on Friday to Hadid’s post.
“I invite you to Kiryat Arba, to see how we live here, how Jews who have done nothing wrong to anyone in their lives are being killed here every day,” he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. Ben Jvir lives in the Kiryat Arba settlement near Hebron, the largest Palestinian city.
And earlier this week, Palestinian gunmen opened fire on an Israeli car near Hebron, killing an Israeli woman and seriously injuring her driver. This attack came a few days later A Palestinian shooting attack killed an Israeli father And his son in the town of Hawara, northern Palestine.
Bin Juffair acknowledged the backlash but reiterated his original statement. “Yes, my right and the right of my fellow Jews to travel and return home safely on the roads of Judea and Samaria outweighs the right of the terrorists who throw stones at us and kill us,” he wrote.
Ben Juffair was convicted in the past of inciting racism and supporting a terrorist organization. He was known to be an admirer of Rabbi Meir Kahane, who was banned from parliament and whose Kach party was designated a terrorist group by the United States before he was assassinated in New York in 1990. Kach wanted to strip Israeli Arabs of their citizenship, separating them from each other. Israeli public places, prohibiting marriage between Jews and non-Jews. Before joining politics, Ben Jvir hung a picture in his living room of a Jewish man who shot dead 29 Palestinians in the West Bank in 1994.
Ben Gvir was a fringe far-right activist who now wields significant power as the national security minister who oversees the Israeli police force in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.